With increasing suggestions floating around the Internet that it might be beneficial for LSU star running back Leonard Fournette to sit out next season before entering the NFL Draft, Tigers head coach Les Miles took to the airwaves Wednesday night to stomp all over that noise.
"To me, there's a lot of people out there stirring the pot," Miles said during his weekly radio show. "Just, let's make controversy. Why not? OK? I can't imagine that Leonard would be sitting anywhere inactive for a fall. I just can't possibly imagine it."
Fournette is the talk of college football's young season, tearing up opposing defenses to the tune of 631 yards and eight touchdowns in three games and threatening to turn the Heisman Trophy race into a one-man show. The sophomore's dominance has already sparked conversation about his sublime NFL prospects, but by rule he will not be eligible for the draft until after his junior season.
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That, naturally, has led many to suggest that skipping that junior season -- with his NFL-worthy skills already solidified and the ever-present risk of injury -- might be the prudent choice. The downside? The potential sour taste it would leave among the LSU community, and potentially NFL scouts, if a player took such a self-preserving approach.
"I think there's a lot of speculation and a lot of conversation that speaks to 'what if' for someone else," Miles said. "'What if Leonard Fournette? What if, what if, what if?' I guess what has to happen is the guy who worked as hard as he did and put himself in position to have a great college career, maybe -- what if -- what if he's got goals to go down as one of the greatest running backs ever? What if he really enjoys his teammates and enjoys being a part of a college atmosphere? What if he's serious about getting his degree? What if he has a financial position that offsets injury? What if -- I mean, what if, my goodness. You could 'what if' forever.
Fournette took to Twitter on Wednesday and appeared to back up the belief that he would not choose to sit out:
Our college football insiders Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel used part of their weekly podcast, The Audible, to discuss the issue and make the case that another year on the field would be a good thing for Fournette.
The Tigers are 3-0 and ranked ninth in the latest AP poll, thanks largely to Fournette carrying their offensive load.